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Apr 8 / Lea Madjoff

Taking a positive perspective on your day

Blog Post 4-8-15Original Source: Hugffingtonpost.com  7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself At The End of Each Day by Lindsay Holmes

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

Each day we have tons of inquiries — for our co-workers, our friends, our families. But do we ever ask ourselves any questions? If we don’t, we may be framing our own mindsets through someone else’s lens. Below are seven questions that will not only help you take a positive perspective on your day, but set up tomorrow for greater success.

What did I learn today?
Just because we’re no longer in school doesn’t mean we have to stop gaining insight about the world around us. In fact, research suggests a constant pursuit of new information as we grow older may contribute to more well-being. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few words in a new language or how to use the copier at work — end each day with more knowledge than the day before.

How do I feel?
We should always prioritize our mental health. Your emotional wellness is just as crucial as your physical wellness, despite what the stigma around mental illnesses may have you believe.  Unfortunately, in health care, we tend to split the mind and body sometimes, but the two actually work in tandem. Pay attention to shifts in your thoughts and feelings, for if they go unresolved it could start affecting your behavior.

How did I make others feel?
How you treat someone else says a lot about who you are. Approaching someone with compassion, authenticity and kindness can go a long way. In fact, research suggests that extending generosity to others not only improves their lives, but increases our well-being also.

What can I do better tomorrow?
No one is perfect. We’re constantly making tiny errors or massive mistakes — but we’re still here. It’s important to acknowledge your speed bumps, but set goals for yourself in the future. In other words, we need to make friends with failure.

Failures … provide us clarity. Initially, when something doesn’t work out, we tend to sulk on how bad the situation is and how we completely screwed up. When the dust settles and we can shift our focus to the pros and cons of the experience, clarity brings perspective. It allows us to view what went wrong and instantaneously we look to the next venture aware of past mistakes or reflecting back on the previous experience.

What am I grateful for?
Gratitude isn’t just some vague, spiritual concept that only works if you believe it does — there’s actual science behind practicing a little thankfulness. Studies show writing down what you’re grateful for can lead to stronger relationships, better sleep and increased happiness.

How much stress did I experience?
Burnout is a silent killer when it comes to our productivity and happiness. If we just roll through the motions each day without taking a critical look at our lives, we may not realize how exhausted we really are until it’s too late.  We need to check in with ourselves as often as we do with our phone’s batteries:

We have a million ways to recharge our phones, portable chargers, cables, extra battery packs, but look at how we treat ourselves. Our own energy has to be below 5% before we figure out that we need to sleep, to recharge, to take a break. That has to change.

What made me smile?
Because everyone deserves to end their day on a happy note. Just think of how much better you’ll sleep if you go to bed with more jubilant thoughts.

Huffingtonpost.com  7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself At The End Of Each Day by Lindsay Holmes

 

Apr 1 / Lea Madjoff

Spring Clean Your Kitchen

Blog Post 4-1-2015Original Source: Hugffingtonpost.com  How to Spring Clean Your Kitchen (And Your Diet) by Laurel Leicht

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

Even if you haven’t been indulging in rich, comforting meals all winter, chances are you’ve accumulated more unhealthy foods in your freezer, fridge and cupboard than you realize. To start off the new season on the right foot, a little spring cleaning for your food supply might be in order.

Declutter Your Freezer

If you throw foods in the freezer and forget about them, it’s time to clear out the old build up. Get rid of all the items with ice crystals forming on the food or the packaging.  Anything with freezer burn will taste worse, but it also often means that the nutrients are lost from foods, especially produce.

Keep some uncooked protein, like lean beef and chicken; it’s good for up to nine months once frozen, and can help you skip a midweek trip to the grocery store. Fill the rest of your freezer with bags of frozen berries and peaches (to throw in smoothies, yogurt and hot cereals) and vegetables like peas, spinach and broccoli (to add to soups and increase the nutrition of takeout dishes). Want to keep a few microwavable meals on hand for times you need a quick fix? Look for options with fewer than 400 calories and 400 mg of sodium.

Lighten Up Your Fridge

Even with tons of frozen fruits and veggies in your freezer, you’ll want some fresh varieties as well. Aim for foods that will keep for several days in the fridge, such as apples, oranges, cauliflower and cabbage.  Don’t cut up anything or wash produce when you bring it home from the store.  You might think you’re saving time, but it will make everything go bad much sooner.  To make these items more convenient for packed lunches or snacks, prepare them only the night before you’ll be consuming them.

Swap out creamy condiments like salad dressings, mayo and sour cream for mustards, Greek yogurt or olive oil with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. And always have a carton of eggs for quick-cooking protein that goes well with any meal or snack.

Clean Your Cupboard

There’s more to junk food than potato chips. Toss items packed with sugar, sodium and preservatives, such as pretzels and most granola bars and energy bars.  Many of these really aren’t any better for you than a candy bar.  Instead, reach for options like air-popped popcorn (you can munch on three cups of it for only 100 calories) and pistachios — they’re only about three calories apiece, and shelling them slows down your eating, encouraging you to consume less.

Trade in high-sugar cereals — and keep in mind that even healthy-seeming choices like granola and gluten-free options can fall into this category — for oatmeal flavored with cinnamon and fruit. Load up on whole grains like quinoa, brown rice and wheat pasta; low-sodium beans for a punch of protein and fiber; and cans of fatty fish like tuna, sardines and salmon to get those omega-3s.

Put Everything In Its Place

To ensure your healthy habits stick, it’s important to put some thought into the way you store your foods.  From the pantry to the fridge, place the nutrient-dense items at eye level, front and center, and put any treats in the back.  That way, you have to really dig for the less healthy items.  And make sure that everything is in the correct place to stay at its peak freshness.  Most people know that olive oil is packed with powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants.  What you might not be aware of is that those antioxidants convert to pro-oxidants when the oil exposed to heat over a prolonged period of time — which means consuming it can actually damage your body.  Try refrigerating olive oil as soon as you get home. Same thing goes for anything containing healthy fats, such as nuts, nut butters and fish oil in any form.

Stocking your kitchen with nutritious choices is the first step to healthy eating — and arranging your storage areas in a way that encourages you to reach for them ensures the kickoff to a slim new season.

Mar 6 / Lea Madjoff

7 Ways to Stop Doing and Start Being by Estelle Williams

Original Source: Hugffingtonpost.com  7 Ways to Stop Doing and Start Being by Estelle Williams

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

FB Post 3-6-2015There is madness in men and women today and it’s spilling over to our children too. This madness is our constant need for change – with our relationships, our jobs, our possessions, our education, and our status in life. Striving for something better and never resting until that something is achieved is a modern disease. Competitiveness causes anxiety and stress, ensuring we constantly perceive a state of lack within ourselves and are never satisfied.

We are constantly doing, but what if instead we chose to be?

Being vs. Doing

Being is a sense of feeling present to exactly who you are in this moment, rather than doing something to try and make improvements because you perceive yourself or your life as imperfect. It may seem hard at first to make the switch, but the rewards will far outweigh the effort required.

Here are seven ways that you can start being today:

  1. Decide what is most important to you.
    Do you live life according to the plans or expectations of others? It might be your parents who decided what path your life should take, or it may be your culture’s expectations that you feel obligated to live up to.

In order to truly live your being-ness, you need to decide what is most important to you in life and take steps to honor those things. Along with that comes no longer doing the things you think you should do.

In this way, you are acting more in alignment with who you are, with your being-ness and not doing what conflicts with your highest values.

  1. Choose to be happy in each moment.
    Many people believe happiness is something that comes from external sources — a job or career, upbringing, finances or partner. I disagree. Happiness is a choice that comes from within. It is a decision you can make from moment to moment. This is living truly from a sense of Being.

If you expect happiness to be delivered to you by others or an act of serendipity, you’ll find yourself pretty unhappy when those expectations are not met. What can you find in this moment to be happy about?

  1. Honor your strengths.
    When you are living your life focusing on your strengths, you are living in being. What you are good at — your strengths — comes naturally to you. The activities you struggle to grasp or never really achieve mastery of are examples of doing that just don’t work. Stop telling yourself that you need to be good at everything and focus instead on what lights you up.
  2. Reside in the present with an open heart. When you are present to each moment in your waking life with an open heart, you notice the colors, smells, textures and other nuances of life that you would otherwise miss if you were busy worrying about the future.

When you move your focus from your head to your heart, you open up a whole new way of Being that is centered in love, enjoyment, forgiveness and understanding.

  1. Stop beating yourself up over past mistakes.
    The past is in the past and that’s where it needs to remain. There is no value in regret, guilt or shame. Acknowledge that whatever happened is over. Reliving past events and beating yourself up does nothing but bring those problems into the present, keeping the energy of them alive. Similarly, if you believe your best times were in the past, you need to let that belief go. Give yourself permission to create new adventures and achievements from a sense of Being vital and alive.
  2. Let the being be the doing.
    When you come from a place of being and you bring your awareness to every possible moment, then whatever activity you are engaged in will be infused with presence and will not be resisted. Resistance to the present moment is what causes anxiety, sadness, anger and despair.

Really practice being present to whatever you’re doing. The easiest way to feel present is practicing meditation, but it’s not the only path to presence. If you’re sitting, enjoy the feeling of inactivity and your body in repose. If you’re running, connect with the feeling of your feet hitting the pavement, your muscles propelling you forward, the air in your lungs and the scenery around you as you pass.

Notice your body and what is around you and you’ll be surprised by how peaceful you begin to feel without the constant noise of your problems and mind chatter. Life itself becomes a meditation.

  1. Take inspired action.
    Once you’ve become practiced at just being, then you can start taking inspired action. Inspired action is when your intuition sends you a message to act. Oftentimes inspired action comes to you as a random thought that feels like it came out of nowhere. You’ll start to notice what feels right and be naturally drawn to take those actions. When you learn to trust yourself and take inspired actions that naturally feel good, you will experience more success than you ever have before, and it will also feel better. It’s a win-win.

If you focus on just one of the above steps towards Being each day, in a short space of time you will put an end to the Doing madness and find yourself on the path to consistent happiness and fulfillment.

Feb 13 / Lea Madjoff

14 ways to make this February 14 a sweet and healthy Valentine’s Day

Blog Post 2-13-15

Happy Valentine’s Day from Ulliance, a Wellness Warriors Partner.

Your sweetheart may have the key to your heart, but a proper diet and regular physical activity can be the key to a healthy heart.

This Valentine’s Day, skip the chocolates and indulge your sweetheart with a heart-healthy gift or date. There’s no better gift than helping each other maintain lifelong healthy habits to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 health threats.

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week to prevent heart disease and stroke.

Here are 14 ways to make this February 14 a sweet and healthy Valentine’s Day.

  1. Quality timeis one of the most meaningful gifts. Bundle up and take an active mid-winter outing, such as sledding, ice skating or skiing.
  2. Build a cozy fire. That’s right, chopping and collecting wood counts as exercise.
  3. Try a new physical activity together like indoor rock climbing or indoor golf lessons.
  4. Make reservations at your favorite healthy restaurant. Sample a variety of heart-healthy menu items and share a dessert to help control calories.
  5. Create a gourmet dinner at home with healthy seasonal foods like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, carrots and winter squash. Try baking, roasting or steaming, and use lean meats and whole grains.
  6. Add the spice of life, but not the sodium. Pledge to reduce sodium in your meals to help prevent high blood pressure and stroke.
  7. Roast chestnuts on an open fire. Roasted, unsalted nuts of all varieties are great as appetizers and gifts. You can also add nuts to many dishes, such as green beans with dry roasted almonds.
  8. Toast to heart health with non-alcoholic drinks.Enjoy non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails or use less alcohol by mixing with sparkling water or sugar-free juices.
  9. Hit the dance floor.What’s more romantic than taking your sweetheart out for a spin on the dance floor? Even if it’s just around the living room, dancing is a great aerobic activity.
  10. Walk and talk.Set up regular morning or evening walks together to get in your 30 minutes of exercise while connecting with each other.
  11. Meditate and de-stress together. Keeping stress out of a marriage isn’t easy, but building in time to meditate together can help keep you focused on the important things in life.
  12. Roll out your yoga mat side-by-side. Get a beginner’s yoga video or try taking a yoga class together.
  13. Snuggle up for a nap. Stay healthy through the winter season by getting enough sleep, about eight hours a night, because sleep helps to ward off illness, maintain weight and keep your heart healthy.
  14. Work out together. Don’t hit the gym alone. Couples can support and motivate each other, and keep each other committed to achieving fitness goals.  blog.heart.org
Feb 5 / Lea Madjoff

Blog Post 2-5-15

Staying Active at WorkMany of us have jobs that keep us sitting at our desks, getting up infrequently to move around. But study after study links inactivity with dying earlier from diseases like cancer, so it’s in our best interest to get some exercise — even while we’re at work.American Cancer Society Director of Nutrition and Physical Activity Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, has some tips to keep you active during your work day.

If you drive to work and park in a deck or garage, find a space at the far end so you have a walk to the elevator or stairs. If you take transit, get off one stop farther from your office and walk the extra distance. And, if you can, choose the escalator or stairs instead of the elevator.
Stuck sitting at conference tables? Have a walking meeting. Frequently sending emails to people down the hall? Walk to someone’s office to deliver a message. And have you considered sending your print jobs to a printer far away? Or using the bathroom the farthest from your desk?
At your desk, ditch your chair and sit on an exercise ball instead. During conference calls, stand up and pace, or stay seated and do leg lifts, knee lifts, and toe curls. If you’re feeling adventurous, keep a weight under your desk for bicep curls. If you have a wall, do standing push-ups.


Source:
Healthy Living Newsletter from American Cancer Society

Jan 22 / Lea Madjoff

Blog Post 1-22-15Enhance your well-being with Journal Therapy

Original Source: Huffingtonpost.com The Healing Powers of Keeping a Journal by Barbara Stepko

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

Get an injection, down those pills, and follow your M.D.’s advice to the letter: These are all pretty familiar forms of medicine. But if you want to enhance those healing powers, you might also consider something as simple as picking up a pen.  Studies suggest that expressive writing (as in, the kind that begins “Dear diary…”) can offer some very real health benefits — among them, helping wounds heal faster, reducing stress and fatigue in cancer patients, and easing the symptoms of conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Journal therapy is all about using personal material as a way of documenting an experience, and learning more about yourself in the process.  It lets us say what’s on our minds and helps us get — and stay — healthy through listening to our inner desires and needs.  Never been the journaling type? To get started, follow these tips.

Choose your moments.  Don’t plan to write every day.  When there’s that expectation, the first day that’s missed, all of the air is let out of the balloon. It’s like a New Year’s resolution in that way. For some, once a week is enough; for others, five times a week is just right.  There are no rules, but it’s helpful to have a strategy when first getting started to develop consistency — for example, check in with yourself three times a week. The length of time isn’t as significant as the doingness, or the pattern. Set timer for 10 minutes; you can go beyond that or put down your pen. Develop a rhythm, so it can be done, say, three times a week for three or four weeks. Once it becomes a habituated response to stress or management, then the frequency can back off.

Ease into it.  Before picking up a pen, try an entrance meditation to transition into a state of mindfulness.  Your ritual might be savoring a cup of tea, listening to classical music, trying a few yoga poses or just petting your cat on your lap.  It can even be as brief as closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths.

Start scribbling.  When some people think of therapeutic writing, they think of free-form (or abstract) writing — basically jotting whatever pops into your head. But when you sit down with a blank piece of paper and no plan or structure, there’s a likelihood that you’ll venture into some not-so-good places.  When writing about emotionally difficult subjects, short, structured journal writing works better.

Some tactics to try:

  • -Sentence stems: Write down the first part of a sentence, such as I feel the most important thing to do is…; What I want is… then complete each one. Sounds easy, right? It is, and that’s the beauty of the exercise: There is an immediate gratification. If the only thing you have to do is finish a sentence, and you accomplish that, then you feel successful.  What’s more, it doesn’t take long to realize that you’re telling yourself surprising and revealing things — and that element of surprise is one of the most healing aspects of writing. Our conscious mind may be driving the bus, but it’s not always in charge.
  • -Five-Minute Sprint: Set the timer for five minutes, write down anything that comes to mind, then put the pen down. Use a prompt that you can actively engage in like “How am I feeling?” or “How do I want my day to be?”  Five minutes may seem like a ridiculously short amount of time.  But when you know that’s all you have, you get busy.
  • -Behavior research: Simply put, practice how you’re going to react in a specific situation so when the time comes you’re prepared for anything.  No matter what happens, no matter what you’re hit with, you feel competent and ready to handle it.  You feel powerful.
  • -Springboard: Write a word with one letter on each line (healing, for example), then write open sentences or thoughts that start with each letter.  I’m always surprised by the insights that come from working with this goofy structure.  Unhook your brain and don’t think about it so much — just let it come.

Now reflect.

After each entry, re-read what you’ve written, then give yourself a sentence or two of feedback. Start with “I’m surprised by –” or “I’m aware of –” then use those prompts to help you sum things up. “If you just close the book and move on, that ‘aha’ moment will fade away.  This part, aptly named reflection writing, is very important; it can reveal deeper, more profound levels of insight.

One final thing to keep in mind: The more balanced your journal is the better.  When you only concentrate on the negative, it doesn’t represent the whole picture.  Most healing journals deal with things that are challenging and difficult, but also the sweet, everyday things. Just a bit of light or little moments of beauty from the day to balance out what may be a bleak picture.  See your journal — and life in general — as a tapestry. When the threads are woven together, it makes a rich mosaic of bright and dark.

Jan 13 / Lea Madjoff

How to Change Bad Habits and Live a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

Source: How to Change Bad Habits and Live a Heart Healthy Lifestyle. American Heart Association (2015). Accessed on January 13, 2015 Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/How-to-Change-Bad-Habits-and-Live-a-Heart-Healthy-Lifestyle_UCM_434369_Article.jsp

How to Change Bad Habits and Live a Heart Healthy Lifestyle large

Learn to form healthy habits by replacing the bad ones. Substituting healthy habits for unhealthy ones rewards you with more stamina, better quality of life – and a healthier you.

That is easier said than done, of course, but some simple tips can help you tackle even the most indulgent and hardest-to-kick habits. Rani Whitfield, M.D., a Baton Rouge, La., family practitioner and American Heart Association volunteer, is on a mission to help people change their unhealthy habits.

An unhealthy habit is easy to develop and hard to live with; a healthy habit is harder to develop but easier to live with,” said Whitfield, who has earned the nickname “The Hip Hop Doc” through his work getting young people to make healthier choices.

Regardless of your age, you can benefit from Whitfield’s simple habit-changing tips.

First, he says, know that it takes 60 to 90 days to create a new habit. You have to keep after it. If you forget sometimes, or if at first you don’t figure how to make it work with your schedule, keep after it.

It helps to remember that an unhealthy habit is attractive because it gives instant gratification—that immediate “feel good.” But you pay later. On the other hand, a healthy habit means you put off gratification but get a much bigger payoff down the road.

Think of your task as replacement rather than deprivation. Says Whitfield, “Kojak sucked on lollipops because he was stopping smoking,” said of the famous 1970s TV detective. Of course, too much candy is bad for you, too – but a few lollipops is much better than smoking when it comes to your heart health. Whitfield says it’s important to “find your real motivation.” It’s OK and in fact helpful to use another motivation in addition to getting healthier. “A lot of people will do it for their children,” he says. They want to set a good example, or they simply want to live to see their kids graduate. And then there’s good old vanity. “If you want six-pack abs, maybe your motivation is to ask out a certain lady,” says Whitfield.

Here are his top tips:

  1. Break a big goal into smaller short-term goals. “Don’t go cold turkey,” he says. “Suppose you’re drinking five beers a day, and you want to get down to six a month. Reduce to three a day. You’ll see the benefits and feel more motivated to move toward your longer-term goal.”
  2. Tell someone you trust – not someone who will sabotage you. Be accountable to someone all the time.
    It’s toughest forming a healthy habit if you don’t have support. For example, one spouse might be trying to stop smoking while the other one isn’t. “You have to find some inner strength, some self-motivation and push through it. Or get couples counseling, a safe setting where you can ask your spouse: ‘Can you be supportive and go outside to smoke?’ ”
  3. Allow a “cheat” once in a while. “If you’ve avoided sweets all week and you’ve been exercising, and you go to Grandma’s, you can afford that ONE small piece of apple pie. Or let yourself have one ‘crazy meal’ a week.”
  4. Break the TV habit in favor of exercise. “Tell yourself, ‘If I just have to watch Martin Lawrence, I’ll Tivo it and watch on the weekend, or do my exercise and then have the show as my reward to myself.’
    “Or, if you have room, you can exercise in front of the TV,” he said. For some, TV seems to be their only friend. “If it’s all about escapism, the underlying anxiety or depression needs to be treated, or if you can’t finish tasks, do your work or the housework,” He says.

He knows it’s tough out there.
“More people are drinking or using marijuana more often to deal with anxiety and depression over family problems or lack of a job, and maybe the inability to relax or to sleep,” Whitfield says. ”They are not understanding that they are making their own problems worse. Alcohol is a depressant; illegal drugs will land you in jail.”

The Hip-Hop Doc’s best habits for heart health:

  1. Consistent exercise, 30 minutes a day, seven days a week. Read the AHA’s recommendations for adults.
  2. Quitting Smoking.
  3. If you currently need medication for a cardiovascular condition, take meds faithfully.  “If you forget, put them with your toothbrush.”

Keep at it. Your greatest wealth is your health.
Learn more:

Jan 6 / Lea Madjoff

Avoid These Calorie Traps

Original Source: Top Health. The Health Promotion and Wellness Newsletter. Ulliance (2014). Accessed on 6 January 2015. Available at: http://www.personalbest.com/TopHealthOnline/ViewIssue.aspx?issue=749

Article written by: Cara Rosenbloom, RD                             2015-JAN-drink

Personal Best – Top Health Online View Issue

If you’ve resolved to shed a few pounds this year, pay attention to foods that can derail your weight-loss plan. You know the ones – the innocent-looking muffin or fruity trail mix with shockingly high calorie counts.

Imagine this: You order a salad and a 16-ounce bottle of apple juice for lunch. It sounds like a light, vegetable- and fruit-packed meal with approximately 200 calories. Look closer: The salad has 60 calories, but the 4 tablespoons of salad dressing add 200 more. The juice is 242 calories, bringing your lunch total to 502 calories. For a salad? You could have easily enjoyed a filling, nutritious meal of chicken, brown rice and salad for the same amount of calories.

It’s easy to pack on calories with foods that are high in fat and sugar. For example, mayonnaise and oil can contain healthy fats, but eat them sparingly – no more than 2 tablespoons each day.

Sugary foods such as regular soft drinks, candy and pastries are easy to over-consume because they taste good, but the calories add up quickly. Always watch your portion sizes of the highest-calorie foods and drinks.

Small changes can help: When eating salad, for example, have the standard serving size of dressing (2 tablespoons), use less oil and more vinegar, or dip vegetables in dressing instead of pouring it over the salad.

Other traps: While it’s obvious pastries, chips and chocolate are calorie bombs, it’s often less clear for good-for-you foods. Granola, cheese, smoothies and nuts can be healthy, but keep portions small to save calories. Always fill plates with vegetables, which are nature’s lowest-calorie foods.

 

 

Nov 26 / Lea Madjoff

Healthy Tips for Thanksgiving

FB Post 11-26-14

Original Source: Theactivetimes.com  Tips for a Healthier (but still enjoyable) Thanksgiving by Katie Rosenbrock

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

As a day that revolves mostly around food (and that falls in the center of a food-filled holiday season), it’s only natural that you might feel stressed about overeating or gaining weight on Thanksgiving.  Especially if you have weight loss goals or are simply working towards establishing healthier eating habits, instead of an enjoyable day spending time with friends and family, Thanksgiving might feel like more of a battle than anything else.  It doesn’t have to feel that way, though. First of all, even if you do end up eating a little bit too much (we’ve all been there before), it’s highly unlikely that one day of overeating can lead to weight gain.

As New York Times Well Blog author Tara Parker-Pope explained in an investigation two years ago, you’d have to eat an almost impossible amount of food to consume more than 4,500 calories, which according to the Calorie Control Council is the (likely overestimated) average amount of calories an American eats on Thanksgiving.  Plus, a recent study found that, on average, most people only gain about one pound over the entire course of the holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day).

So contrary to what the diet industry might have you believe, there’s no reason to go bonkers stressing over weight gain during the holidays, and especially not over what you eat on one single day.  Of course, no matter how many pieces of grandma’s epic apple pie you really want to eat, your health is still important to you and just like everyone else, you definitely don’t enjoy feeling bloated and stuffed to the brim.  Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid all of that and have a healthy Thanksgiving without feeling deprived; it’s a matter of enjoying yourself without overdoing it.

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s so much easier said than done.” Right?  True. But we’ve rounded up some simple tips that you can use to make sure you’ll enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods without going overboard.

Keep up with your exercise routine.  Maybe this seems like an obvious piece of advice, but the holidays tend to be a busy time of year, meaning it’s easy to fall off the exercise wagon as your social schedule becomes more and more booked. Just because it is a holiday doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to stop exercising.  Staying consistent is key. Do your usual workout so when you are watching football and nibbling on snacks, you’ll feel good knowing you already burned extra calories for the day. If you’re hosting on Thanksgiving Day, put the turkey in the oven and then going for a long morning walk to start the day.

Serve healthy snacks while watching football.   Instead of heating up processed, frozen snacks which are high in sodium, provide no nutritional value and are loaded with unhealthy fats, serve a raw vegetable platter with healthy dips or hummus as a healthier alternative. 

Drink lots of water.   Thanksgiving dinner is typically high in sodium, so drink 8 glasses of water (or more) to reduce the excess water weight and bloat. 

Don’t overdo it with drinks.  Drink all the water you want, but consuming beverages like wine, beer and liquor in moderation. Excess alcohol adds empty calories and lowers inhibitions.  Save those calories for your favorite slice of pumpkin pie instead. 

Eggnog probably isn’t worth it.  Unless it’s your absolute favorite holiday treat, skip out on Eggnog. Eggnog is extremely high in calories.  One cup could have 360 calories and 60 grams of sugar. This is one decedent dessert to avoid all together, unless you’d rather swap it in for a different sweet treat. 

Pay attention to portions.  Even though your grandma’s pumpkin pie looks amazing and you could eat about three slices, you’ll regret it the next morning.  Instead, enjoy a sensible portion or just take a few bites of your favorite foods. This strategy will prevent you from overindulging without causing you to feel deprived or like you’re missing out.

Prepare bigger portions of ‘good’ foods.  Leftovers are arguably one of the best things about Thanksgiving; tons of delicious food to eat for days to come. However, it’s a smart idea to make bigger portions of the healthier dishes (think veggies and lean protein) so that when you open your fridge and reach for leftovers you’ll have more nutritious options to choose from. 

Eat early.  If you can, eat your big Thanksgiving meal as early as possible so that your body will have time to digest before you head to sleep. Try to eat in the afternoon so that the heavy meal will digest long before bed time. 

Freeze extra leftovers.  Avoid feeling the need to eat all the leftovers in a few days before they go bad by freezing some of them.  As an added bonus, your fridge won’t be stocked to the brim.

Enjoy time with your friends and family.  The purpose of the holiday is to relax, have fun and spend time with those you care about.  The food is important, but not nearly as important as being thankful.  Theactivetimes.com  Tips for a Healthier (but still enjoyable) Thanksgiving by Katie Rosenbrock

Nov 18 / Lea Madjoff

Get Happy Now: Habits to avoid for your emotional wellness

FB Post 11-18-14

Original Source: Huffingtonpost.com The 12 worst habits for your mental health by Carey Rossi

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

Did we make you laugh? Seeking out humor on a daily basis can assist with turning your frown upside down.

Depression is usually brought on by factors beyond our control — the death of a loved one, a job loss or financial troubles. But the small choices you make every day may also affect your mood more than you may realize. Your social media habits, exercise routine and even the way you walk may be sucking the happiness out of your day, and you may not even know it. Luckily, these behaviors can be changed. Read on for ways you’re sabotaging your good moods, and what you can do to turn it around.

1.  You slouch when you walk.

How we feel can affect the way we walk, but the inverse is also true. Researchers found that when subjects were asked to walk with shoulders slouched, hunched over and with minimum arm movements, they experienced worse moods than those who had more pep in their steps. What’s more, participants who walked in the slouchy style remembered more negative things rather than positive things.

Get happy now:Lift your chin up and roll your shoulders back to keep your outlook on the positive side.

2.  You take pictures of EVERYTHING.

Instagram queens (and kings), listen up. Haphazardly snapping pictures may hamper how you remember those moments.  In the study, participants took a museum tour, observing some objects and snapping pics of others. Afterward, they had a harder time remembering the items they photographed compared with the ones they looked at. The lens is a veil in front of your eyes and we don’t realize it’s there.

Get happy now:Focus on your subjects when taking pictures — or, better yet, just sit back and enjoy yourself. Soak up the beauty and participate in the action. These are the things that will make you mentally stronger

3.  You don’t exercise.

Consider this: If you become more active three times a week, your risk of being depressed decreases 19 percent, according to a new study in JAMA Psychiatry. After following more than 11,000 people born in 1958 up until the age of 50, and recording depressive symptoms and levels of physical activity at regular intervals, University College London researchers found a correlation between physical activity and depression. People who were depressed were less likely to be active, while those who were active were less likely to be depressed. In fact, for every time they were active, depression risk decreased 6 percent.

Get happy now:Just get out and move. It doesn’t need to be for long — walking to errands if possible, taking the stairs — but any activity will help keep your mind moving.

4.  You procrastinate.

Think about a task you’ve been putting off. If the reason is because it’s boring or you just don’t feel like doing it, well, we can’t help you there. But if you’re avoiding the task because it makes you anxious or because you’re afraid of failing, then procrastinating just makes completing it more nerve-wracking.

Get happy now:Before you finally tackle your problem head-on, do something that helps you ease stress. Engage in an activity that helps disintegrate the anxiety, like listening to music or going for a run. This way you can insert a bit of fun into it, instead of stress.

5.  You take life too seriously.

You trip on a crack in the sidewalk, and instead of shrugging it off, you cower with embarrassment. If that sounds like you, it’s time to find some ways to laugh more.  There are many studies showing the benefits of laughter on our health and this includes mental health.  Laughter is the fast medicine for anxiety and depression.

Get happy now:Seek out humor every day. Watch a funny TV show, listen to the Laugh USA channel on SiriusXM Radio, or spend time with friends who make you smile. You could even try volunteering with kids — they really do say the darndest things.

6.  You don’t sleep.

Sleep affects everything.  and mental capabilities, as well as our bodies’ functioning. Sleep is our bodies way of regenerating and without it the system malfunctions.

Get happy now:Try to figure out why you aren’t sleeping and then take the steps to create a restful environment.

7.  You’re never alone.

Between kids, work, marriage and other activities, you can’t find a moment to be alone (and locking yourself in the bathroom doesn’t count). Find time for yourself, whether it is 10 minutes, an hour, or a day. Without taking the time to do things for yourself, depression and anxiety creep in.

Get happy now:Schedule an appointment for you time. And more importantly, keep it.

8.  You don’t actually talk to anyone.

If you primarily use texting, Facebook and other social media to stay in touch with friends, you’re not having meaningful contact — and chatting up the Starbucks barista every morning doesn’t count.  Facebook pages are entertainment.  These are not true conversations that allow us to understand people. Instead, it lessens our experiences and feelings.  Personal electronics (like smartphones) have also impacted attention, demands for immediate gratification and expectations that the press of a button can lead to instantaneous connection.  We have also learned to not have face-to-face connections, only virtual. This impacts our ability and interest in sitting in the same room with someone, and actually talk with people face-to-face.

Get happy now: At the end of our lives, the number of followers we have doesn’t matter, but friends do.  Make sure to schedule a date with a friend, family member or partner at least once week.

9.  You can’t live without your mobile phone.

When was the last time that you were completely electronic-device free? Can’t remember? Not a good sign.  With all the devices we have, it tends to overstimulate us.  And if we are always on, then we never truly rest and regenerate our bodies and our minds. Eventually, this can manifest itself as depression or anxiety.

Get happy now:Create an electronic sabbath, where you abstain from all devices once a week, even if just for half a day

10.  You multitask.

We’re all guilty of multitasking: We take lunch at our desks, scroll through Facebook while watching TV and text pretty much constantly. Research shows that although many people believe they’re being more productive by multitasking, that’s not actually the case — it just leaves us stressed out, oblivious to our surroundings and unable to communicate effectively.

Get happy now:It’s simple, really: Put down the phone, turn off the television and pay attention to what you are doing and what is going on around you. Allowing your brain to process everything that is happening to you in real time (and not broadcasting it to your social media followers) may be the best thing you can do for your mental health.